When designer Ben Leavitt of PlaidFox Studio first pitched the idea of an architectural circle wall to me as part of our renovation, I had two thoughts: “YES” and “HOW.”

Creating a circular recess on an otherwise boring-white-wall adds a hit of architectural interest… but, knowing nothing about construction or geometry, it also added a challenge.

We had committed to doing our renovation with the help of a few key tradespeople and my father-in-law, and this seemed out of scope for everyone. Drawing a free-hand circle is hard enough — was I really going to expect my husband’s 72-year-old dad to hand-build one onto the wall?

yellow bedspread in front of funky feature wall
Photo: Tina Kulic.

But he took one look at the renderings and didn’t even blink. “Oh yeah,” he said, waving his hand over it nonchalantly as I babbled about whether or not we’d need a protractor, “That’s not a problem.” Then, he surprised me by basically becoming obsessed with executing the circle wall. There was so much to do every day and the circle wall was basically always the least important or time-sensitive thing to accomplish, and yet he would happily show up to toil away at lovingly mudding the seams. He’s a handy guy and everything he did was so helpful and practical… but the circle, I think, was his opportunity to show his creative side, too. And I gotta say: he crushed it.

It probably isn’t as easy as he made it out to be, but it’s not as hard as I thought it was too. And once I figured out that we could decorate the interior of the circle with easy-to-apply vinyl decals, we were able to make this special architectural detail even more special. (These are the ones I bought, from Urban Walls.) You can make it your own in so many different ways, though: paint it a special colour, wallpaper it, cover the surface with artful wall hooks, or, of course, paint a mural of your saintly handyman father-in-law.

How to Create an Architectural Circle Wall

1. Build a frame of 2x4s on your wall to mount the pieces of drywall: essentially, you’re installing a wall of panels over top of your existing wall.
2. Cut pieces of drywall to cover the wall end to end. Loosely attach to mounts.
3. Put a screw where you’d like the centre of the circle to be. Attach a piece of string the length of the radius of the circle, and a pencil to the end of that.
4. Keeping the string taut, trace the diameter of the circle—perfect!

progress of making a feature wall

5. Unmount the pieces of drywall with circle marks on them.
6. Use a jigsaw to cut along the circle line.
7. Remount to the wall. Now you should have a recess where the original wall was.

progress of making a feature wall
8. Cover the gap inside the wall with a thin strip of trim. Mud, sand to smooth, and paint the seams.

progress of making a feature wall